Encouraging church growth in places over 95% Muslim
We were met by Mulugeta Ashagre, the leader of the Ethiopian Christian Brethren Church, who looked thinner after his recent illness.
The first conference was in the mountain town of Dese, 400 km north of the capital Addis Ababa. On the way Mulugeta had arranged for us to speak at Kemise. The believers in northern Ethiopia are generally hard pressed since they live in largely Muslim areas. Kemise is 97% Muslim but it was a great joy to meet the Christians there and to remind one other of the eternal hope we have in Christ.
We then traveled to Batie where I preached in the church. Batie is 99% Muslim but ‘Compassion’, the US-based local Christian organization, seeks to care for the very poorest children. It was a huge thrill to be greeted by about 200 of them, all from Muslim families, who then attended the church service.
The work amongst adults in Batie is very hard and the previous Pastor had left, yet we found the church in good heart. We urgently need to pray for the northernmost towns in Ethiopia, that there would be a major breakthrough for the gospel.
Later we drove further north around scary hairpin bends to Dese. Pastor Selechie had gathered together 40 pastors and church leaders from seven different evangelical denominations.
The conference venue was cosy, a smaller room than normal with ‘close fellowship’. Mulugeta and Kasahun translated for us and James and I both felt the Lord’s hand was on the conference in a special way. We gave five sermons on the book of Titus, four lectures on Biblical preaching and seminars on the doctrines of justification, sanctification, regeneration and grace. Each day finished with a Bible overview.
At the end each man received three books in the Amharic language on the doctrine of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We returned to Addis humbled and thankful to God for his blessing.
Mulugeta (on the left) had invited 60 men from various churches to the second conference, which took place over five days at the Ethiopian Christian Brethren HQ in Addis. However, only 43 were able to come. Nevertheless, the church across Ethiopia continues to grow and people from different backgrounds continue to be converted. But one of the great needs is still training sufficient young men to lead the churches well. Please keep praying.